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June 17, 2010

Alan Simpson: Hates Americans, Loves Saddam

Here's how Alan Simpson deals with Americans asking him about the commission he's on that wants to cut Social Security:

SIMPSON: Where do you come up with all the crap you come up with?...Just listen, will you listen to me instead of babbling?...we’re not balancing the budget on the backs of senior citizens. That’s bullshit. So you’ve got that one down...You pick your crap and I’ll pick the real stuff...Let me say things in a way so your fans will understand this, so you can go and be a hero...Well you can go through all the sophistry of babbling that you want to.

And here's how Simpson dealt with genocidal dictator Saddam Hussein in 1990, when he met with him shortly before the invasion of Kuwait:

SIMPSON: I'm glad to have the opportunity to speak with you, Mr. President. I enjoy meeting with frank and direct people...President Bush told us, "Go. I want you to go. Tell him we have perspective"...

You talk about democracy. Democracy is a very irksome and confusing thing. I believe your problem is with the Western media, not with the US Government, because you are isolated from the media and the press. The press is spoiled and conceited.* All the journalists consider themselves brilliant political scientists. They do not want to see anything succeeding or achieving its objectives. My advice to you is that you allow those bastards to come here and see things for themselves.

* Just before Alan Simpson commiserated with Saddam about the "spoiled and conceited" Western media, Saddam had executed a reporter for the Observer.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at June 17, 2010 09:33 PM

Good bye Gulf, good bye SS. Here's a number to call, if interested 1-202-225-0100. Who knows, YOU paid in all those years maybe they are worth a phonecall? (In reality its just another sign post on the Highway To Hell and its Alan painting the sign)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at June 17, 2010 09:48 PM

Thanks for telling us how you really feel sugartits. They do think they are better than us.

Posted by: demize! at June 18, 2010 12:06 AM

demize: I believe WE hardly cross their minds at all, one way or the other. To quote Billy, "We're just somebody that needs a haircut to them, man."

Posted by: Mike Meyer at June 18, 2010 01:08 AM

I can't wait. The Commission Report comes out calling for cuts to Social Security. The "up or down" vote is scheduled to take place in Congress. The Obama administration sits on the sidelines.

...Michael Tomasky writes another plaintive essay beating up the DFH'ers....because "don't you know how bad it could have been with McCain in the White House?"

Posted by: bobbyp at June 18, 2010 09:46 AM

Whatever you say about Simpson, he opposes the barbaric notion that children who commit "adult crimes" should receive adult sentences, and he has tried to stop the practice by submitting papers in court attesting to his own past as a juvenile "monster" (his word). He may knows that if his dad hadn't been a prominent Wyoming lawyer and politician (his dad was himself a Governor and then US Senator), he would have seen prison himself, and possibly for a long time.

Because I grew up out that way, I have known a lot of people who remind me of Alan Simpson. I'm probably biased, but I think they are basically calling it like they see it and usually even think that they are doing what is right, and I don't get as disgusted with them as I do with the sneakier liars, especially the pros who run the media. I'm sure that Simpson will sign off on something that will screw old people and poor people, because that will be fiscally responsible in his eyes, so it fits into his extremely tidy world-view. And he'll undoubtedly feel like he did his duty.

George Orwell observed during his time in Spain that it was a little unsettling that some bomber pilot could kill you, and you could be sure he wouldn't lose any sleep about it that night. You may think of the members of that commission to cut social security as bomber pilots.

Posted by: N E at June 18, 2010 10:28 AM

from Wikipedia:

The June 7, 1994, edition of the now-defunct supermarket tabloid Weekly World News reported that 12 U.S. Senators were aliens from other planets, including Simpson. The Associated Press ran a follow-up piece which confirmed the tongue-in-cheek participation of Senate offices in the story. Then-Senator Simpson's spokesman Charles Pelkey, when asked about Simpson's galactic origins, told the AP: "We've got only one thing to say: Klaatu barada nikto." This was a reference to the 1951 science fiction classic film, The Day the Earth Stood Still, in which an alien arrives by flying saucer in Washington, D.C. Simpson also utters this phrase in a brief cameo in Men in Black.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at June 18, 2010 10:34 AM

mistah charley ph.d.

Come on, that's just par for the course in Wyoming. Urban people are so provincial!

Posted by: N E at June 18, 2010 12:52 PM

NE, a guy who defends Saddam's contempt for the press right after Saddam has executed a journalist is not "calling it as he sees it". Yeah, there are plenty of conservatives and liberals who unthinkingly support war crimes, but I don't think there's anyone raised in the US who doesn't understand that you're not supposed to defend a dictator who executes journalists.

I believe Simpson later turned around 180 degrees when Saddam became our enemy several months later and was one of those outraged that Peter Arnett was reporting from Baghdad. This is not an honest man. He might be good on some issues--that doesn't mean he's not a hypocrite on others.

Posted by: Donald Johnson at June 18, 2010 02:27 PM

i don't want the World's Nicest Guy on the Commission to Destroy SS; i want one of the world's biggest fundaments.

Posted by: anonymous at June 18, 2010 03:00 PM

The AVERAGE US politician can TURN ON A DIME, much faster than ANY of Orwell's characters in 1984. SAD TO SAY Alan's just average.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at June 18, 2010 03:15 PM

Donald Johnson

You may be surprised what BS people will believe, and what they can't see right in front of their noses, so don't be so sure that Simpson wasn't calling it like he saw it. Then again, who cares?

Of course you're right that Simpson is no hero any more than the malignant Ted Olson is for backing gay rights in California. In fact, his politics suck and he supported all sorts of dreadful policies, domestic and military. Westerners love all that GOP cowboy macho and rugged invidiualism and when men were men and Indians were scared crap.

By the way, I have fallen in love with another dead commie, W.E.B. DuBois. I never previously read The Souls of Black Folks, perhaps because for some reason the title put me off, but that book is extraordinary. He's so clear-headed that I'm going to have to find what he had to say about Woodrow Wilson.

Posted by: N E at June 18, 2010 04:00 PM

N.E., you piqued my interest. I googled and found a letter WEB Dubois wrote Wilson on the latters inauguration in 1913.
and one later the same year:

Posted by: woody at June 19, 2010 09:16 AM

@NE: Alan Simpson isn't just "signing off on" an austerity program that will further impoverish half the population; he's made it his whole freaking career. Huzzah for his not being a monster wrt juvenile crime, but frankly a prison term might have spared the country the substantial damage caused by such a rightist.

The real fault is with the President who set up this Let Them Eat Cat Food commission and appointed him, and with anyone else who treats Simpson as a Serious Person.

But he's an ass, a 99% ass.

Posted by: Nell at June 19, 2010 10:13 AM

@Nell: you forgot the .99%

Posted by: taochiapet at June 19, 2010 10:53 AM


I found those same letters, and then something Du Bois wrote later after Versailles to the effect that Wilson always disappointed him, including as a scholar, in that instance with regard to race as it related to colonial issues. On all issues touching upon race, Wilson never lived up to that sense of fairness and "broad cosmopolitan outlook" that Du Bois praised in him, undoubtedly because he was trying to get Wilson to live up to it. Which he didn't.

That story in Du Bois's second letter about the white employees in the Post Office Department having built a cage for a black fellow employee with whom they had already worked for many years prior to that time without such a cage is one of the most astonishing, sad, and disgusting stories I've ever heard. Du Bois was remarkably measured in his correspondence.

Posted by: N E at June 20, 2010 11:21 AM


I don't like the looks of this Commission either, and people better watch it closely, but Simpson will probably at least say what he thinks instead of lying well and being manipulative. Plus, he's a PR disaster, which is helpful.

That last remark that "the real problem is . . . anyone else who treats Simpson as a Serious Person" basically amounts to saying that the real problem is everyone but you and a pretty small minority of the population, one so ideologically pure that even crazies like me who would abolish the Senate and most of the military can't get in, basically because of demonstrating insufficient contempt for those who supposedly richly deserve it, which I sense you perceive as diminishing the outrage needed for real change.

I've got bundles of outrage, and it can be useful, provided one doesn't start punching wildly, but I've had it used against me before by someone skillful when it clouded my thinking, and I think your statement won't help you get what you would like. Politics depends on coalitions (which is why the structure of our federal government is ruinous), and getting caught up in Who Is The Problem and especially making Evil People the problem creates confusion and worse, faction. Faction divides coalitions, allowing elites to keep control of all options. This doesn't get talked about or analyzed in the media, but it's the nature of our politics and always has gone on. People on the left today need some discipline. Political support does not require love or blind commitment, and it doesn't require hate either. Alan Simpson is a distraction, though of course his poor manners in that video is fabulously useful.

Most of the people of Wyoming even now are Republicans who share a lot of Simpson's attitudes and views (not all of which are likely what you think). The same is true of my boyhood home state of South Dakota and much of the rest of the plains. So at a minimum, a few million people out that way think Simpson is a much more Serious Person than you or I are, and not all of them are gun-crazy aholes. Many of those folks are fine people despite their politics. They have reason to dislike much of what they dislike, and they trust people like Alan Simpson, who they see as one of them. It's not necessary to turn an issue like this into an issue of Identity Politics, and if that happens nearly all those people will side with Simpson. People rally to defend their own when they're attacked by outsiders.

If Obama listens to Wall Street on this, the real fault here is going to be with him and his staff for lack of leadership and courage and, of course, with Wall Street for being itself. To date, Obama hasn't demonstrated much leadership or courage, and maybe he will continue to fail in that. In which case his Presidency will be a blown opportunity. A friend of mine who I trust very much and who lobbies on the Hill on Health Care felt that had Obama shown a little leadership the health care reform law easily could have been much better. (This has been very disappointing to him, because he has liked Obama since early in his campaign.) So Obama better get with it fast, because he's not a rookie any more, and those mistakes and failings cost us all a great deal. A lot of people will literally pay for his lack of leadership with their lives. He needed to shitcan Rahm and turn left six months ago.

But the fault is not now and never will be with people who don't sufficiently despise Alan Simpson. I agree that Simpson has more than a few times acted like "an ass." This certainly isn't the first time he's shot off his mouth and made himself look like a stupid hothead, or treated someone like Anita Hill or Peter Arnett very unfairly, and like I said, I really don't like his politics at all, but I do actually like his lack of phoniness even though he is very conservative and also seems to be an opinionated prick. (Surprise, that's not a vice that grates on me all that much.) One thing I have discovered, Simpson knows all that about himself too, and he is at least capable of apologizing.,,20111527,00.html

Finally, I confess that like Simpson, I myself would rather fight than hold hands and sing, and though different journalists would piss me off for different reasons, some of them would defintitely piss me off too. Maybe that's why I can forgive Simpson for acting like such a cranky old coot. I'll get there eventually myself if I live long enough, though I'll probably just end up lambasting some presumptuous kid journalist about the National Security State or the CIA or torture of some damn thing like that that he won't know anything about beacause he spent most of his life playing video games before getting a job. To each his own.

Posted by: N E at June 20, 2010 12:52 PM

AL KNOWS the best thing to do for Social Security is to just NOT fuck with it. He's a LAWYER, he's being PAID to screw U and he's going to do it. TELLING THE TRUTH? He's a LAWYER!

Posted by: Mike Meyer at June 20, 2010 04:16 PM

At comment 48 there are PDFs of proposals from the commission under Clinton.

Posted by: Save the Oocytes at June 20, 2010 09:57 PM


Interesting: As always, Dean Baker gets it: (don't miss the quote by George Carlin in Gitcheegumee's comment to that post)

I didn't know Simpson was also on the "Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform" appointed by Clinton in 1994, but I'm not surprised. The links at comment 48 to Hamsher's post didn't work, but I did manage to find it. I think there have been other blue ribbon panels on this before. George Carlin seems to understand pretty well how it all works.

Posted by: N E at June 21, 2010 12:40 AM